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Hello everyone and welcome to today's

event. Um my name is Ali Bedhad and I'm

the Director of the Center for Near Eastern Studies

here at UCLA. And on behalf of my

colleagues at the Center, I would like to

welcome you to the first Averroës lecture

of this academic year.

Before i turn the virtual podium to my

colleague Aomar Boum who will introduce

Dr. Daniella Farah,

I would like to take this opportunity to

thank my colleagues at the Center for

Near Eastern Studies

and the Leve Center for Jewish Studies

for their leadership roles in making

this lecture series possible. I would

like to thank especially Sarah Stein and

Aomar Boum

uh and Aomar, his intellectual leadership

has really been central um to uh these


Also I would like to give a shout out to

our stellar staff Johanna Romero and

Christian Rodriguez for their logistical support.

For those of you who are not familiar

with the Center for Near Eastern Studies at UCLA,

CNES is a research hub where over 100

faculty from humanities, social sciences,

arts, and the law school collaborate in a

variety of research and pedagogical

projects on the Middle East and North Africa.

Now today's talk is part of our Averroës

Lecture Series that has been um

underwritten by a generous anonymous

donor and which focuses on the Jewish

communities living in the Muslim land

prior to 20th century.

We have named the series Averroës, the

latin name of Ibn Rushd, the 12th century

Andalusian polymath whose

philosophical work

integrated Islamic tradition

with ancient Greek


to the point to the rich

to point to the rich history of

Cordoba's Jewish muslim relation as a

model of coexistence and connections

between Averroës and Jewish philosophy

philosopher Maimonides,

both of whom were committed to

intellectual exchange and communal life

across religion.

And now i would like to briefly

introduce my colleague Aomar Boum

who is a sociocultural anthropologist

here at UCLA

and now the program director of the

Mellon grant on minorities in the Middle East.

His stellar ethnographic work addresses

the place of religious and ethnic

minorities in MENA region. He has

published widely on this topic.

His publications include an important book

Memories of Absence

How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco

which was published by Stanford

University Press and recently

A collection with Sarah Stein, The

Holocaust and North Africa which was

published by Stanford

University Press as well this past

couple years ago. So

Aomar, the virtual podium is yours.

Thanks Ali,

thanks everyone for being here



many regions of the Middle East and

North Africa,

the Alliance Israelite Universelle

was meant to usher indigenous urban and

rural Jewish communities

into modernity through education.

Jewish economic and social emancipation

was a broader objective

of the Paris-based Jewish organization.

Today the archives of the Alliance

Israélite Universelle in Paris,

mainly, one of the most important source,

the historical research

and writing about these communities.

Their sociocultural and political


and relations to the broader Muslim

world and societies.

Building on the work

of Aron Rodrigue

and using partly

this archival material,

Dr. Daniella Farah

brings a different historical


on the Alliance Israélite Universelle

by focusing on

Iran. Dr. Farah received her PhD

in Jewish history from Stanford

University in 2020-21.

She is currently Samuel W. and

Goldye Marian Spain Postdoctoral Fellow

in Jewish Studies at Rice University

and the recipient of a 2021

Salo Baron New Voices in Jewish Studies

Award and a 21-22

Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture grant.

Iran had the second largest number of

Alliance Israélite Universelle schools

numbering around 13

after Morocco, which had about 31.

In her dissertation,

Dr. Farah examines Iran's Jewish

communities between the mid-1940s

and the early 1980s

through the prisms of education,

the Jewish press,

national belonging

and assimilation.

Focusing on the themes of education,

Dr. Farah demonstrates how Jews

integrated into the broader

non-Jewish Iranian polity

and made claims of belonging to the


It is my pleasure to

introduce Dr.

Farah today as our winter 2021 Averroës

lecture speaker. She will be talking

about Jews and education in modern Iran

upward mobility

integration and identity.

Dr Farah, the floor is yours.

Thank you so much for that introduction.

I'm just going to share screen right now.

Uh great okay, so first of all I want to

begin by thanking Dr. Behdad and Dr.

Boum as well as the Center for Near

Eastern Studies and the Alan D Leve

Center for Jewish Studies for giving me

this amazing opportunity to speak here

today and I shouldn't forget also

Christian Rodriguez for putting all this


Um it's a real pleasure to be presenting

my work to you all and I look forward to

hearing your questions afterward. And as

uh Dr. Boum stated the talk is called

Jews and Education in Modern Iran: Upward

Mobility, Integration, and Identity.

This talk will explore the 20th century

history of Jews and Education in Iran

through the intersecting themes of

upward mobility, interreligious

encounters, and integration.

And um I'll pay specific attention to

the schools of the Alliance Israélite Universelle

which was a transnational Jewish

educational philanthropy

established in Paris in 1860.

So I'm going to go back to the first

slide very briefly.

You might be wondering why I titled the

talk Jews and Education rather than

merely Jewish education.

So the reason that I do that is that

in addition to discussing some of the

Jewish schools that function in Iran

such as those of the Alliance,

I'll also talk about the increasing

tendency beginning in the 1950s of

Jewish parents to remove their children

from Jewish schools and place them in

non-Jewish schools.

And at the same time that this was

happening there was also a growing

enrollment of non-Jews in Jewish schools.

So this presence of Jews and non-Jewish

schools and non-Jews in ewish schools

may seem paradoxical,

but it was in fact a crucial way in

which these communities interacted and

created meaningful


And so ultimately I argue both in this

talk and in my broader research that

because Jews and non-Jews encountered

one another on a near daily basis in

schools and universities, education

facilitated the integration of Jews into

the larger Iranian polity.

for this talk I'll be looking at the

period of the Pahlavi dynasty which

reigned from 1925 to 1979

but I'll be focusing specifically on the

um second path of Mohammed Reza Shah

featured here. He um was the son of the

first Pahlavi Shah and he gained power in

1941 after his father's force abdication.

So why do I focus specifically on his

rule, on the second Shah's rule?

The reason is that um this was a period

in which Iranian Jews experience massive

upward mobility

and integrated into many facets of

Iranian society and not to mention his

reign was one in which we see a lot of

massive transformations in education in


Now I am going to give a little bit of a

background to

the history of Iranian Jews in the mid

20th century although it's of course

I'll just be touching the surface.

Habib Levy an Iranian Jewish scholar in

Tehran who was born or born in Tehran in 1896

wrote in his Comprehensive History

of the Jews of Iran

um the common diasporic Iranian Jewish

narrative that life under the Pahlavis

especially under Mohammed Reza Shah

was like paradise for the Jews.

Other scholars and non-scholars alike

often corroborate this claim by stating

that Jews gain growing liberties

and freedoms under the rule of the


And if you speak to any Iranian Jew in

the U.S. today some of whom are I think

in this audience,

many attribute the improvement in the

status of Jews directly to the rule of

Mohammed Reza Shah.

And so in bringing this up I'm not

trying to dispute the fact that Jews

indeed flourished under his reign but

rather I think that as scholars we need

to complicate this idea of a monarch

or in this case of a Shah being good for

the Jews.

So but of course under Mohammed Reza

Shah, the 80 to 100 000 Jews in Iran did

become prominent in commerce,

the medical and pharmaceutical fields,

and were over represented in schools and

universities as students and instructors.

Jews operated their own schools,

synagogues, newspapers, philanthropies and

youth clubs,

and engagement in a diverse array of

professions and activities brought Jews

into contact with the larger non-Jewish

world and reinforced their rootedness in

the social, cultural, and economic facets

of Iranian life.

In other words Jews were active Iranian

citizens who crafted multi-layered

identities as both ardent Iran patriots

and devout Jews, and of course these two

identities were not mutually exclusive.

Now uh I'll be focusing a bit on the

Alliance um


again a bit of background. So this was a

philanthropic or is a philanthropic

French Jewish organization

founded in Paris in 1860 by a group of

acculturated French Jews.

The Alliance, as far as their aims uh

they strove for Jewish rights throughout

the world, aimed to defend Jews wherever

they were persecuted, and worked to bring

about the emancipation of unemancipated Jews.

The founders believed that Eastern Jews

and of course this is very problematic

um were backwards and superstitious and

that they needed exposure to European

specifically French education in order

to be worthy of emancipation.

So to that end they began building

schools in 1862 throughout the middle

East, North Africa and the Balkans and

ultimately established a wide network of

schools that extended from Morocco in

the west to Iran and the east.

These schools based their curriculum on

the French national system with french

of course serving as the main language

of instruction.

They taught both secular subjects such

as history, math, the sciences as well as

Hebrew and Jewish history but of course

Hebrew was not really taught as a living

language at least not for many years.

So I have two, I have one graph and one a

chart and a map here that I want to talk

a little bit about with you all because

I think they're they're very interesting.

So the Alliance established its first

school in Iran in 1898 in Tehran. As you

can see here this is a chart showing the

years and locations in which Alliance

schools were established.

And then between 1900 and 1930, the

Alliance founded girls, boys, and co-ed

schools in almost a dozen other cities

throughout the country.

And I'm going to pause on this map which

uh also shows where the different Alliance

schools were established in Iran and i

think it's quite striking because it

shows that prior to the 1940s when

Iranian Jews and non-Jews start to

experience massive urban migration,

Jews really lived throughout through

like all all throughout Iran. Um and in

fact the Alliance wasn't actually able

to build schools in every single city uh

for example in the northeastern city of

Mashhad, Jews appeal to the Alliance to

build schools there for them but they

never materialize.

So suffice it to say the Iranian Jewish

communities lived all over Iran prior to

the 1940s.

Before I launch into my discussion of

Jews and Education in Iran, it's

important to talk about the

nationalization of education under the

Pahlavi Shahs

because this is very crucial to the

history of Jewish schools in Iran.

Historian Abbas Amanat states quote, "more

than the army, economy, and infrastructure,

the growth of public education shaped

Pahlavi society and its nationalist


And I'd have to agree with this


Education was central to the nationalist

projects of Reza Shah and his son

Mohammed Reza Shah.

The nationalist rhetoric of these two

monarchs stressed the glories of Iran's

pre-islamic culture and history.

It aimed to homogenize an ethnically and

linguistically heterogeneous population

and significantly for education,

it used the Persian language as a means

to cultivate national support.

For Reza Shah education was one of the

most powerful tools for unifying Iran as

a nation and he aimed to bring uh to use

it to bring all Iranian citizens under

his chief authority. So between 1927 and

1939, The Ministry of Education

instituted a uniform system of textbooks,

exams, and curricula that most schools

throughout Iran were required to

implement, including Alliance schools which

I'll get to later.

Mohammed Reza Shah, like his father,

also argued that education was critical

for developing national


and for preserving national unity. So he

dictated that all Iranian children

should have similar schooling, a

knowledge of iran's history and cultural

heritage, and should be taught

exclusively in Persian.

This linguistic element is especially

important because at the time and even

you know even today,

almost half of the entire population of

Iran spoke Persian as a first language.

So the imposition of Persian in schools

impacted large swaths of the population,

not only religious minorities.

And it's also important to note that the

process of educational nationalism that

occurred in Iran was not unique.

Indeed nationalization of education

which is of course a part of the broader

state building project

was a transnational phenomenon that

happened in many places including Turkey

and France.

But the nationalization of education in

Iran did greatly impact foreign and

religious minority schools which

included Baha'i,

Zoroastrian, Armenian, Jewish, and

Christian missionary schools.

An educational decree of 1927 for

example dictated that all schools

carrying four names were required to

adopt Persian ones. And this is how the

Alliance came to choose

the title [...] which is the direct

translation into Persian and Arabic for

Alliance. So you find this also in

schools in Morocco it's [...]

I believe.

And then a 1928 decree required that all

foreign schools implement Persian as the

primary language of instruction, which

again was a big deal because in a number

of minority and foreign schools, Persian

had not been the main language of

instruction. For example, in Bahai'i

schools, it was English. In Armenian

schools, it was Armenian.

and but it was really the Baha'i schools

in Iran that felt the sting of these

decrees as Reza Shah closed all of them

by 1934.

And by 1940 the government had assumed

complete control over all Presbyterian

mission schools.

The Alliance would spare the fate of

Baha'i and Missionary schools and was

able to continue running at schools for

many decades.

Yet one could argue that after education

in Iran was nationalized, the Alliance

largely lost control of their schools as

they were forced to curtail the

cornerstone of their educational work,

the teaching of French.

So as I mentioned, before prior to


French was the main language of

instruction in Alliance schools but then

afterwards it was relegated to the

status of a foreign language with highly

curtailed hours.

Furthermore the schools were required to

completely follow the state mandated

school curriculum with the addition of a

few hours of Hebrew and Jewish studies.

The Alliance, of course did not take well

to the Persianization of its schools. In

many letters and reports I've come

across in the Alliance archives, the

teachers and directors complained that

they had to reduce the hours of French

offered and that the Ministry of

Education subjected them to frequent

and often intrusive inspections.

But of course, they had no choice but to

acquiesce to the state's strong

nationalizing hand.

In addition to Alliance schools,

other prominent Jewish schools in Iran

included the transnational Ozar Hatorah

schools I have a picture featured here

community schools and the Jewish

vocational arts schools.

Ozar Hatorah was a Jewish organization

dedicated to bringing orthodox Jewish

education to Jews in the Middle East,

North Africa and France. It built its

first school in Iran in the 1940s and

attempted to inculcate its students with

an Eastern European brand of orthodox

Judaism. And as you might imagine this

did not go over well with a lot of the

Iranian Jews.

There was also a

educational transnational educational

network called ORT

which was founded in St Petersburg in

1880. And they operated vocational

schools in Iran for nearly 30 years

beginning in 1950.

And ORT is especially important because

it consistently maintained a significant

non-Jewish student body.

Last, there were also community-run

Jewish schools such as [XXXX] [XXXX]

and Ruhi Shad and I want to just draw some

attention attention to this image here

which uh features my father, he's the boy

with the um glasses


this school was established in the early


And then lastly the last I think one

more organization I need to mention is

the American Jewish Joint Distribution

Committee or the JDC.

It was a philanthropic American Jewish

organization that emerged on the

educational sphere in Iran in 1949 and

subsidized a number of educational,

medical, and clothing distribution


in Jewish schools in Iran but they also

benefited non-Jews as well.

Now I will turn to the theme of upward

mobility of Iran's Jews.

Throughout the first half of the 20th

century Iran's Jews like the majority of

the Iranian nation were desperately poor.

The main professions of Jews by 1945

were as peddlers, cloth sellers, grocers,

refuse collectors and petty merchants.

A select few were doctors, government

employees, and wealthy industrialists but

they remain in the few.

However Jews did begin to experience

unprecedented upward mobility in the


and there are several reasons for this

but I'll focus on one in particular,


And the education offered by the

Alliance was especially crucial in

bringing about this mobility.

So on the most basic level, acquisition

of French allowed some of the graduates

of Alliance schools in Iran to establish

business partnerships with European


Moreover, according to the memoirs of [...]

an Iranian Jew who served

as teacher and director to several

Alliance schools in Iran,

an Alliance education helped many of

its graduates enter universities

and of course the university education

allowed them to climb the socio-economic

ladder as many Jews studied in the

fields of medicine, science, pharmacy, and


In 1952 Stanley Abramovic JDC director

to Iran between 1949 and 1952

conveys in a very problematic way how

such an education

in his opinion benefited the Jews of

Iran. So he writes the AIU meaning the

Alliance has played a very important

part in the life of the Iranian Jewry,

those Jews who left the ghetto, those

Jews who advanced in life

those Jews who are the wealthy Jews of

Iran today,

those Jews progress because of the

education they received in the AIU


In towns where the AIU had been working

for many years, the Jewish community is

wealthier, stronger, healthier

whereas in towns where the AIU has not

been working, the Jewish community is


And then more to the point in 1967 [...]

an Iranian Jew and director of the

alliance high school in Tehran,

stated that of the 700 doctors dentists

and pharmacists and 1 000 tradesmen

among the Jews in Iran, quote "almost all

were our former students," end quote. So in

other words, many of the Jews who attained

very reputable jobs by the 50s and 60s

had received an education at the Alliance.

So these few examples and there are many

more demonstrate that Alliance education

helped facilitate the upper mobility of

at least a certain subset of Iran's Jews,

but we must bear in mind the problematic

nature of some of these arguments as

they posited that before the arrival of

the Alliance, Iranian Jews were on the

whole backwards, degenerate, and

uncivilized and needed the helping hand

of western Jews to uplift them. And in

fact I found some evidence in the

archives of a school

a local Jewish school that had been

subsumed into the Alliance,

but then later broke away from the

Alliance citing

the audience's paternalistic attitudes

towards the Jews as their reason for

breaking away.

Um I'd like to argue though that what

is perhaps the best evidence of the

Alliance's role in helping the Jews

achieve upward mobility is that many of

its students, boys and girls, were

admitted to universities at a time when

admission was highly competitive. So I'll

just give a couple of statistics that I

i've compiled throughout my research.

So in the 1973-1974 exam,

85 percent of the Alliance students who

took the concours which were these um

college entrance exams were admitted to

universities. So 85 percent of the

Alliance high school students while only

12 percent of those who took it at the

national level were admitted.

And then in 1975 um 88 of Alliance high

school students who took the concours

were admitted into university whereas

only 10 percent of those who applied on

the national level were admitted.

It's not entirely clear what accounts

for these exceptional results, the level

of success of these students is

especially perplexing considering that

the Alliance directors and teachers

continuously complain in their letters

and reports from the 60s and 70s that

due to a shortage of qualified teachers

and modern teaching equipment, the

standard of education was suffering.

High rates of literacy among Iran's Jews

may explain why Jews were so

overrepresented in Iranian universities.

For example in a 1971 speech [...]

the Jewish member of

parliament expressed gratitude to the

alliance for the quote immense progress

that the Alliance

allowed us to realize in Iran end quote.

And then he remarked that

due to the education the schools offered

there were quote hardly any illiterate

Jews in Iran.

But it wasn't only Alliance graduates

who were overrepresented in universities

but Jewish students on the whole.

Moreover there were many Jewish

professors in Iranian universities

a significant presence in centers of

higher education was one avenue through

which the Jews were able to integrate

into the larger Iranian society because

in these spaces,

they interacted almost daily with


And now I'll turn to the theme of

inter-religious encounters and education.

My research shows that education in Iran

provided Jews a space in which they

could interact and form meaningful

relationships with non-Jews.

I found that throughout their more than

80 years in Iran for example Alliance

schools consistently maintained a mixed

student body that included Jews and

non-Jews. The alliance interestingly

actively sought the enrollments of

non-Jews because their presence enhanced

the prestige of the schools,

helped Jews build positive relationships

with non-Jews and even alleviated

anti-Jewish discrimination.

For example in the first half of the

20th century in cities like Isfahan and

Kermanshah, local government officials

would send their own children to

Alliance schools because at the time

they happened to be the best schools in

the city and so as a result the Alliance

and Jews more broadly benefited from a

positive relationship with local Muslim


Not only did Jewish schools contain many

non-Jewish students but many non-Jewish

teachers taught in these schools and

Jewish schools were required to have at

least one Muslim principle after


At the same time that there were

non-Jews and Jewish schools

beginning in the 1950s, Jews became

prominent in non-Jewish schools which

I'll discuss more at length in the talk.

So in Jewish and non-Jewish schools,

therefore Jews sat side by side Muslim,

Baha'i, Christian, and Zoroastrian students.

Persian language oral histories and

memoirs revealed that in educational

spaces, Jews formed friendships with

non-Jews that extended well beyond the


So to drive the point

home even further,

Jewish schools were sites in which Jews

could interact frequently and

meaningfully with non-Jewish students

and educators.

I'll now turn to a few examples of this.

Uh Parvine Motamed, an Iranian Jewish

woman born in Hamadan in October 1927

did her primary schooling in the Alliance

school of Jamadan and she actually just

recently passed away.

She completed her secondary schooling in

Tehran, obtaining a bachelor's degree in

French and English at the university of

Tehran and later a master's degree.

A thoroughly educated woman, she went on

to become the general director of ORT in Iran.

In an oral history, Motamed praised the

alliance for cultivating an environment

in which students of different faiths

interacted freely.

she stated that the Alliance schools of

Hamadan quote was truly a multicultural

school where Jewish, Muslim, and Christian

students were attending. There was no

difference in the treatment we all

received. There was no feeling of

anti-semitism in our school.

Moreover Motamed met asserted that as a

result of her time at Alliance schools she

formed friendships with several Muslim


which which she actually maintained even

after leaving Iran.

But Motamed's rosy depiction of

interfaith coexistence in Alliance schools

didn't extend to the general public.

Indeed she acknowledged that while on

the Alliance school represented quote an

exemplary multicultural environment end

quote, the Hamadan of her childhood was a

quote center for Muslim mullahs and an

anti-semitic city end quote.

But according to Motamed, the fortune

of Hamadan's Jews improved after Reza Shah

visited Alliance schools there. Which

I have a picture featured here.

So she says that after this points quote

the attitude of the mullahs and the

general public change toward the jewish


Along these lines Dr. Nourani president of

the Jewish Council of Hamadan declared

in a 1973 letter to the Alliance that

the school in Hamadan had quote

abolished divisions and erased

misunderstandings that have clouded the

relations between Jews and non-Jews in

the past and has succeeded in generating

and maintaining an atmosphere of mutual

help and sympathy between us Jews and

our compatriots.

This vision of the Alliance

in Hamadan is serving to eliminate

discord and create unity between Jews

and non-Jews is in line with Motamed's

praise of the

alliance. And then uh one last example um

Nasser Rassekh director of the Alliance

schools of [...] similarly

proclaimed in a 1967 letter to the

Alliance that the schools facilitated an

understanding between Jews and muslims

in [...]. So he wrote thus over the years,

a spirit of understanding has developed

between the Jewish and Muslim

communities that is the result of the

existence of the Alliance school in the

city. Sitting side by side on the benches

in our classroom Jews and Muslims have

learned over the years the principles of

human rights.

While there are slight differences

between these three accounts, they hold

one sentiment in common. The

multicultural and multi-religious

environments of Alliance schools helped

pave the way for positive interactions

between Jews and non-Jews in Iran.

Interfaith mixing also occurred in other

jewish schools such as that of the

prestigious jewish [...] school. [...]

was established in 1946 by

wealthy Baghdadi Jews and was known for

providing the highest quality of

education with a well-trained staff and

top-notch facilities. It attracted the

children of middle and upper class

Jewish families and unlike other Jewish

schools in Iran which progressively saw

a decline in their enrollments from the

late 1960s onward, [...] actually

experienced a steady increase in its


It excelled in teaching English and a

high percentage of its graduates went on

to universities.

But despite being an explicitly jewish

school, [...]

consistently had a non-jewish student


In a Persian language interview which I

actually located at UCLA's oral history


a Dr. Baruch [...] director of [...]

from 1968 to 1978

and former physics professor at the

university of Tehran described the

student body at the school.

He said that he quote, never aimed for

the school to be an entirely Jewish

school end quote. And that quote, there

were always about twenty percent

non-Jewish students including Muslims

Baha'is and Christians. Beruchim

therefore made a concerted effort to

accept non-Jews into his school.

Indeed he recalls how an irate Iranian

Jewish man once

approached him and asked him why he

admitted so many non-Jews.

After noting that many Jews in Iran

attended non-Jewish schools and

universities he responded quote, when

they accept us how can we not accept


I also conducted oral histories with

several Jewish graduates of the school

and in one interview upon asking what the

non-Jewish student body was like, my

interviewee answered,

you never got the feeling that they had

any sort of prejudice against the Jews. I

don't know if it was because the

environment was majority Jewish, but I

didn't really get that feeling. The

feeling was that we're all friends and

we're all equal.

I'm now going to move a bit back in time

to discuss an important development in

Jewish education which started to occur

in the 1950s and continued over the next

few decades. In the early 1950s Jewish

parents began removing their children

from Jewish schools and placing them in

state schools.

And this happened for several reasons.

First, Jewish schools were located in the

Mahallas, which were the Jewish


And these

mahallas were very far from the homes of

the newly wealthy jewish families and so

for very pragmatic reasons parents

didn't want to send their children

traveling long distances to get to


Second and relatedly, as Jews were

climbing the social ladder, they didn't

want to send their children to schools

with substandard facilities. And Alliance

schools eventually gained a reputation

for catering to the poor.

So these Iranian Jewish parents chose to

send their children to state schools

because they had attained the reputation

of offering a higher quality of


So there was very much a class element here.

Third increase commercial activity


um Iran and the anglo-American sphere

and with the United States gaining

political preeminence in Iran after the

second world war, we find that english

started to beg to dominate as a foreign

language to the uh over French.

So Iranian parents, Jews and non-Jews

alike, wanted their children to learn

english rather than French.

And lastly

numerous sources argue that Iranian

jewish parents actively sought out

non-Jewish schools because they believed

that their children needed to interact

with non-jews to succeed in Iranian


Interestingly according to the scholar

Janet Kestenberg Amighi, upwardly mobile

Zoroastrian parents similarly chose to

send their children to public schools

claiming that they quote needed to learn

to get along in a Muslim majority world

end quote.

At the same time that Jews were leaving

Jewish schools in droves, non-Jews were

attending Aliance schools in large

numbers. I don't have time really to get

into that now, but I'm happy to address that

in the Q&A, why non-jews were so

attracted to Alliance's schools.

So as other schools in Iran began to

experience a marked growth in the

enrollment of non-jews, they also saw a

sharp decline in Jewish enrollment

and then its overall enrollment also

began to decrease from its height in

1950 when the Alliance had nearly 8 300

students to 1978 when it had only 3 400 students.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, Alliance

officials frequently and fervently

complained about the dwindling

enrollment of Jewish students and the

increase in non-ewish students, often

referring to it as an invasion.

This simultaneous decrease in Jewish

enrollment and increase in non-Jewish

enrollment mostly affected the

provincial Alliance schools such as

those of Hamadan and Kermanshah.

The attendance of Jews and state schools

and that of non-Jews and Jewish schools

became so prevalent that by the early

1970s over half of all school-aged

Jewish children were attending

non-jewish elementary schools.

Even more astonishing by 1978,

more than half of all Alliance students

were non-Jews.

The attendance of jews at religiously

diverse schools in Iran, both Jewish run

and state operated

facilitated the integration of Jews into

the broader Iranian society by providing

them with spaces to interact daily and

meaningfully with non-jews.

To conclude in this talk, I hope I

demonstrated the critical role

that education played in helping Jews

achieve significant upper mobility and

integrate into their larger national


Applying an educational and

transnational lens to the history of

Iranian Jews, I believe can help us

understand how minorities living under

new nation states position themselves

vis-a-vis the state and the dominant

population. Thank you.

Thank you so much and

thank you for coming and joining us


and for your wonderful um talk today. I

also like to thank Aomar for um

the introduction and and

handling the questions and answers. I

would like to draw your attention to our

website where you will see recorded of


lectures from this series as well as other

events that we've had that is available

and also to encourage you to join us

in the future

as we are

we will have more talks both uh in

this series as well as other events.

And thanks again and uh pretty wonderful

to uh see you all here at this talk and we

hope to see you soon.

thank you so much everyone.

thank you.